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News Wrap: Assad says he gets indirect info on U.S. airstrikes

In our news wrap Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed on the BBC that he is getting information on the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State indirectly through third parties. Also, there were reports that the U.S. embassy in Yemen is closing and diplomats evacuated amid growing chaos.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The U.S. air campaign against Islamic State forces got a boost today, when an Arab ally rejoined the fight. The United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes against the militants inside Syria for the first time in more than a month.

    Meanwhile, on the BBC, Syrian President Bashar Assad said the U.S. is keeping him informed about the anti-Islamic State air campaign indirectly.

  • PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, Syria:

    That through — through third party, more than one party, Iraq and other countries, sometimes, they convey message, general message, but there is nothing tactical.

  • QUESTION:

    And is that a continuing dialogue that you have through third parties?

  • BASHAR AL-ASSAD:

    There is no dialogue. There is, let's say, information, but not dialogue.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    President Obama has called for Assad's removal, and at the White House today, a spokesman said: "The United States is not coordinating our actions with the Syrian government. And we're not going to."

  • GWEN IFILL:

    There's word the U.S. Embassy in Yemen is closing, amid growing chaos since Shiite rebels ousted the pro-American government. It was widely reported today that U.S. diplomats are being evacuated, although the State Department wouldn't confirm it. Some U.S. military forces remain in Yemen, conducting counterterror strikes against al-Qaida forces.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Across Eastern Ukraine today, battles raged on the eve of new peace negotiations. Pro-Russian rebels fired rockets into Kramatorsk, deep inside government-held territory, killing at least 10 people. Elsewhere, pro-government fighters said they captured villages near Mariupol, where rebels had been massing.

    Meanwhile, President Obama spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A White House statement said he warned Putin — quote — "The costs for Russia will rise if it continues aggressive actions in Ukraine."

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Back in this country, New Englanders used a lull between storms to dig out from yet another two feet of snow. Schoolchildren and state workers in the Boston area had the day off once again, with many roads impassable and most public transit shut down.

    Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker warned people there's a new danger on top of their homes.

    GOV. CHARLIE BAKER, (R) Massachusetts: I really can't believe I'm saying this, but also people need to think about shoveling off their roofs. We have had a number of roof collapses over the course of the past several days. And as the snowfall continues, this will continue to be an issue.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    State authorities have also allowed snow to be dumped into Boston Harbor, since there's nowhere else to put it. and there's more coming. A new storm on Thursday could drop another three to six inches.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The International Energy Agency forecast today that the price of crude oil is headed for a rebound, but it won't get back to where it had been. The agency represents 29 oil-importing nations. Crude has risen back above $50 dollars a barrel in recent days, but that's less than half of last summer's peak price.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    And on Wall Street, stocks moved higher on hopes that Greece might be willing to broker a deal with European creditors. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 139 points to close near 17900. The Nasdaq rose 61 points on the day. And the S&P 500 added 22.

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